The BT 21st Century Network (21CN) is set to cost some £10 billion to roll-out completely. BBC News Online reports £260 million will be invested in Northern Ireland creating an IP network which forms part of the 21CN core.
One of the first follow-ups to the roll-out of 21CN is the deployment of ADSL2+ on BT exchanges offering download speeds of up to 24 Mbps to broadband providers who buy services from BT Wholesale. We do not expect to see an IPstream ADSL2+ product, but rather a new 21CN range of products known as Wholesale Broadband Connect (wBBC). On a like-for-like basis it is believed that wBBC products will be cheaper, allowing more scope for providers to relax fair use policies or fixed limits as people embrace online video content. Trials of ADSL2+ are expected to start in some areas in 2007, with roll-out starting in 2008.
We should point out that while the headline speeds for those living closest to their local telephone exchange will triple from 8 Mbps to 24 Mbps, these benefits fall off rapidly as you move away from the exchange. Once you have a line length of 5 km or more the performance of ADSL2+ closely matches ADSL.